Monday, September 20, 2010

In Which I SPEAK Loudly....

I must have been living under a rock yesterday. That is the only excuse I have for not knowing about the travesty that has been taking place in my own backyard, so to speak. No, I don't live in Missouri, but I happen to be the proud owner of an autographed copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK

For those of you who like me may not know what the situation is, please allow me to shed some light. SPEAK is a literary YA novel that deals with the harsh subject of rape and how one girl comes to terms with what has happened to her. A certain someone has gotten up on his metaphorical soapbox and demanded that SPEAK be placed on the Banned Books List in school. He cites his reasons by terming the rape scenes in SPEAK as soft pornography.

Let's dismiss for the moment that anyone who believes rape (of an under aged teen) is sexually exciting and thus considered pornographic is so far left of center that I wouldn't want him within 200 miles of a school or playground. Let's suspend for a moment that banning a book about said subject matter sends a clear message to young men that hurting a woman is okay and not to be talked about.

Why is there even a Banned Books List?

What you allow your children to read or not to read is one thing. But, telling me--and by extension--my children what is acceptable reading material is WRONG.

We live in a country that is supposed to be free. As such, it is my choice what I choose to read. If I were to see a book out there that deals with something that offends me personally. I would exercise my right to not buy that book. On the same token, if a book was being covered in my child's class that I did not approve of, I would exercise my right to work with the teacher in putting together an alternate lesson plan in order to keep my child from not participating in that portion of the curriculum.

What I would not do however, is stand inside Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble and shout to one and all not to buy a book that I don't care for. I would not call for summarily banning a book from school libraries. I would not force my opinions on anyone and everyone within shouting distance.

I will simply ask this: How do you feel about censorship? Are you for it or against it? Why or why not? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. I'll be in the corner protecting my copy of SPEAK from raving lunatics intent on eradicating it from existence.